Salvatore La Rosa

Strabo (Geography VI, 7)

Geographical Position

After the Heracleium there is a cape belonging to Locri,
which is called Zephyrium,
its harbour is protected against the western winds,
and hence the name...
Then follows the city (called) Locri Epizephyrii...

(Strabo, Geography VI, 7)

The archaeological site of the ancient Locri Epizephyrii is located in Reggio Calabria's province, few kilometres away from the modern Locri. However it is not the site in which the first Greek settlers arrived. As a matter of fact, they first went ashore in the bay adjoining cape Zephyrium (the ancient denomination of the headland, nowadays called cape Bruzzano, which is due - as Strabo suggests - to its peculiarity to protect the bay from the Zephyrus, the western wind). Then, after few years, they made for north, starting the building of the proper city upon the hill known as Epopis.

The settlers arrived near cape Zephyrium probably because, as the historical tradition hands down, this was a landing place commonly used both from merchants and from Greek sailors; the former used it for commercial exchanges with the natives, while the latter used it as a landing place to resupply their ships with food and water. Therefore it was a well-known place for the newcomers Greek settlers.

After camping on cape Zephyrium, the Greek settlers began to establish closer relationships with the natives (Sicels), drawing up some peace agreements with them. At the same time they started the exploration of the territories to the north of cape Zephyrium, discovering very soon that they were more suitable for the development of the new polis. They focused their attention particularly on the coastal zone below the native camp of Ianchina (today's name of the zone), much more fertile and rich of water than the hills near cape Zephyrium. And so they took the decision that the new discovered zone would have been the definitive site for their settlement.

However there was the problem of the peace agreements with the natives; but the Locrians, according to Polybius' narration, resorted to a trick: "[...] (The Locrians), living on (native) territory, were welcomed by the natives providing that they had promised to share that territory with the natives until they stood upon the ground they then stood upon, and kept their heads upon their shoulders. But, as it is said, the Locrians took the oath after having put earth inside the sole of their shoes and heads of garlic concealed on their shoulders. After a while they took the earth away from their shoes and threw the heads of garlic off their shoulders; and soon attacked the natives [...]". (Polybius, Histories XII, 6-3)

And so Ianchina's native camp was destroyed. Finally Locri Epizephyrii's settlers (we are now between the end of the VIII century b.C. and the beginning of the VII century b.C.) could start to build their city, 25 km to the north of the site where they had arrived some years before.

Anyway, in the name of the city remained a reference to the site of their arrival; as a matter of fact, Oi Lokroi Oi Epizephyrioi is a Greek plural form that can be translated this way: The Locrians who live next to the Zephyrium.

Locri Epizephyrii is in Italy
In Calabria Region
On the eastern coast of the
Province of Reggio Calabria



Back to the top of the page

Valid HTML 4.01!                     Valid CSS 2.1!
in addition to the 22391 visitors that the site had from the 05/19/2001 until the use of the new visitors counter
Privacy Policy  -  Cookie Policy